Don’t Let Naysayers Undermine Meaningful Strategic Change in 2019

Dr. Fred Johnson, CEO & Founder of InitiativeOne, and ACRP 2019 Signature Series Speaker

Dr. Fred Johnson, CEO & Founder of InitiativeOne, and ACRP 2019 Signature Series Speaker

New Year’s resolutions are in the air. Maybe it’s time to renew that gym membership? Should you be calling your mother more often? And when are you going to pick up that electric guitar you bought in 2016?

However, embracing change is rarely easy—that’s especially true in the clinical trial industry. There are many reasons for the aversion, not the least of which is the fact that practitioners are engaged in the serious work of life and death.

“How do you lead change in a hyper-change environment?” asks Dr. Fred Johnson. “When people hear about change, they want to walk away.”

He will address how to handle the enemies of change as a featured speaker at the ACRP 2019 conference in Nashville, Tenn., next April.

Effecting change is a significant challenge for leaders. Try to be too nice and you’ll be ineffective. Get too tough and you’ll damage morale. It’s a perplexing scenario, Johnson admits, and one that requires more than enthusiasm. “You can’t be an effective leader just by embracing change,” he says.

Effective leaders must begin by examining themselves, Johnson advises. “Identify your own set of core values apart from the opinion of others,” he says.

Leading successful change requires the leader to be self-aware about his or her own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some leaders “can’t allow anyone to be upset with them [because their] validation is about getting people to feel good about them,” Johnson says. However, a leader with a clear sense of self—and the ability to articulate the importance of a given change—is a leader poised for success.

There’s another factor to address at the very outset. Johnson warns that there are destructive people in organizations who “are addicted to chaos [and] they are quite skilled at disrupting change,” in part because they “don’t like it when the team [members are] onboard with each other.”

Such naysayers can drag down others around them. Johnson says there are five warning signs that you are dealing with a “toxic” employee:

  • They can never solve their own problems.
  • They only feel safe in a crisis, and will create one if it doesn’t already exist.
  • They generate meeting after meeting.
  • They sow discord about the organization’s leader behind his or her back.
  • They thrive in an environment of low accountability, or take advantage of a leader who is hesitant about conflict.

Author: Michael Causey